What Star Wars Taught me About Life #CUEAdmin #SkywalkerRanch

As I embark upon my journey to Skywalker Ranch this week to attend CUE Admin Rockstar Camp, I’m feeling pretty overwhelmed. So many feelings come to the forefront of my thoughts, but the most prominent is that of finally meeting George Lucas. Yes, I expect to meet George Lucas. I mean, doesn’t he just hang out at the Ranch and greet visitors as they wander through? I mean, it is a ranch, right? What’s what you do on a ranch. Hang out, drink mint juleps and talk about the Force. Well, in my mind, that’s what I expect…


Here’s a photo of me with George discussing the Force. In case you were wondering.

It’s been a pretty crazy whirlwind of a new school year for me and, to be honest, I haven’t given this adventure too much thought until this past weekend. I really have started to reflect upon how much the world of Star Wars has influenced me. I mean, really, Yoda says it all right here:


This basically sums up my whole educational philosophy of action. This and the Nike tag line – you know the one…

Just recently, in anticipation of the release of the new Star Wars movie, my oldest daughter and I decided to watch the whole series. I asked her, “How do you want to watch them, in numerical order or in the order in which they were received?” She responded, very appropriately, “In the order in which they were released.” As you probably guessed, she really enjoyed the first three and when we watched episode 1, she was like, “What was that all about??” In response, all I could say is that there are cuts of the first movie (A Phantom Edit) with no Jar Jar. I’ll definitely have to talk to my buddy George about this on my visit to the ranch. That’s right, I’m calling it the ranch – George and I are total buds now. Yep, I called him my bud … that’s how close we’ve gotten.

All kidding aside, I’m so excited to be at Skywalker ranch, but even more so because it’s to attend the second CUE Admin Rockstar camp! And before you ask, sorry, it sold out within hours of registration opening. To top it all, I get to hang out with some of the most rockstarish individuals in the not too distant future, in a galaxy very very close to me.

Firstly, I get to finally meet in 3D the legendary Jon Corippo (our interview can be found here), who is the Director of Academic Innovation for CUE, and has been leading professional learning for teachers for centuries. That’s right centuries. He’s like Yoda, except taller.


Next, there’s Joe Wood (our interview can be found here), who I had the immense pleasure of meeting in Tahoe at CUE Rockstar summer camp. Joe is the Instructional Technology Coordinator at Natomas Charter School and he oversees the school’s technology department with crazy ideas, random bursts of professional development, when no one is looking, basically being a total educational rebel, He’s just like Han Solo, except taller. 


Then there’s Traci Bonde (our interview will be forthcoming this weekend – stay tuned), who In her 17+ years as a Technology Administrator, has specialized in moving organizations to the forefront of technology integration and used her expertise to building effective systems for operations and classroom use utilizing technology. Basically, she’s fighting the good fight, just like Princess Amydala did against the Emperor. 


I’m super excited to meet Catina Haugen, principal at Grant Elementary, whose #7wordstory, “I am a lifeboat, buoy and sail.” describes how change is the new norm whereby flexibility, responsiveness, transparency and authenticity are paramount. This reminds me of the power of Princess Leia and her call to action! 


Of course, there’s Robert Craven, Director of Technology and Media Services for Fullerton School District. He realized the impact technology made on both his teaching and student learning; this discovery started him on his endless journey into the integration, development and practice of technology and curricular integration. His teaching reminds me of Obi-Wan Kenobi – I can’t wait to meet him and learn from him! 


Last, but not least, there’s Joe Sanfelippo, the Superintendent of the Fall Creek School District. He co-hosts the BrandED Radio Show on the Bam Radio Network, and co-authored The Power of Branding-Telling Your School’s Story and Principal Professional Development: Leading Learning in a Digital Age. He very much reminds me of Qui-Gon Jinn, except with a little less hair. 


This is going to be an awesome time with some amazing people. I can’t wait to tell you even more about it. I’ll be reporting live with mostly audio from inside the ranch, and photo/video/periscope from the outside – please follow the hashtag #CUEAdmin for more information!

How’s the Force treating you this school year?

Adnan Iftekhar